His new feature film, The Magdalene Sisters, is based on the real-life laundries run by the Sisters of the Magdalene Order in Ireland near the end of the 19th century. Girls considered wayward or unruly were sent there as punishment for their sins and forced to do labor under sweat-shop conditions. The last of the laundries was shut down in 1996. Mullan's film follows the lives of four young women and takes place from 1964 to 1969. Before writing and directing, Mullan was best known for his acting and starred in The Big Man, Riff-Raff, Shallow Grave and Trainspotting. He won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in Ken Loach's film My Name is Joe.